It may be the need to please the boss or the desire to be constantly available to clients, but 43 percent of drivers admit to distracted driving by being in touch with work while behind the wheel, according to a Harris Poll for Travelers Insurance.
The percentage of workers who make or receive calls related to work is also highest for younger people, the survey found.
The survey, which was intended to measure the amount of people who used their personal vehicles for work, polled 2,083 people in September. It showed that 75 percent of the respondents, who use their vehicles to drive to and from work, also drive them for other work related reasons. It also raises questions regarding liability if the driver is involved in a distracted driving accident while using the phone for a work related matter.
The survey found, of the 43 percent of respondents that admitted work related communication while driving, 38 percent talk on the phone, 17 percent text and 10 percent email. Of that entire group 54 percent were between the ages of 18 and 44 years. More than 25 percent of those who drove for work related reasons said their boss called or texted even thought they knew the employee was operating a motor vehicle at the time.
“If an employer texts an employee who is driving, and the employee get’s into an accident while reading or responding to the message, it is possible that the company could be brought into legal action,” said Dave Nelson, a vice president at Travelers.
A Warning of Extended Liability
The American Automobile Association for Justice reminded employers, earlier this year, that there could be vicarious responsibility for acts of their employees under certain circumstances creating liability. Cases have been filed as attempts to augment liability of employers, involving work related distracted driving. A New Jersey court ruled, in Kubert vs. Best in 2013, that a person could be held liable for texting someone while knowing they were driving. Another case involved a Pennsylvania man who was struck and killed on his motorcycle by an allegedly texting driver.
Although the courts have tended to place the culpability of cellphone distraction on drivers, the association warns that the law may expand as fatalities increase with the use of the devices and perceived liability is redirected. The automotive and smartphone manufactures may be the targets in future litigation as well.
Injured by a Distracted Driver?
Anyone who is injured in an accident involving a suspected distracted driver should retain the services of an experienced automobile accident attorney. Drivers will rarely admit to being distracted following an accident. The attorney will look for witnesses, obtain police reports and subpoena phone records to determine if the defendant was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the crash.
If you or a loved one was hurt in an automobile accident caused by a suspected distracted driver, reach out to Vititoe Law Group today for a free consultation with a car accident attorney. You could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Do not wait, as time is not on your side in these cases.